Recognizing and Working with Multiculturalism: A Reflective Analysis of a University Multicultural Education Course

By Julia Athena Spinthourakis.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Multiculturalism in society and education is a reality in the twenty-first century. How we choose to deal with it is a basic question. Including multiculturalism as a fundamental component of teacher education programs is increasingly of interest given that teachers need to work successfully with diverse learners at the ideological level, practical level, political level and methodological level. Successful implementation of the tenets of multiculturalism is seen as affording teachers with the skills, knowledge and awareness needed to understand their own identity as well as that of their diverse students as basic elements of efficacious teaching and learning for all students. This paper examines how as teacher educators we go about understanding and addressing multiculturalism as an expression of one’s identity and how such awareness enables preservice teachers to more effectively deal with diversity. It looks at pre-service teacher’s understandings of multiculturalism/identity/diversity and focuses on an analysis of the development, implementation and efficacy of a university multicultural education course. The reflective content analysis is based on the experiences as noted in the reflective journal entries of pre-service teachers taking the course. The course participants: Greek university undergraduate elementary education students and students from other European countries participating in the European Union Erasmus student mobility program. The analysis indicated that that an increased opportunity for active participation and reflection positively influences the multicultural awareness of the course participants.

Keywords: Multiculturalism/Identity/Diversity, Multicultural Education, Pre-service Teacher Education Reflective Journal Writing, Content Analysis, Erasmus Student Mobility

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp.67-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 560.318KB).

Dr Julia Athena Spinthourakis

Assistant Professor, Multilingual Multicultural Education: Curriculum and Instruction, Department of Elementary Education, Division of Pedagogy, University of Patras, Rion, Patras, Greece

Dr. Spinthourakis holds a BA in History/Social Studies and Elementary Education, an MA in Guidance and Counseling and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Multilingual Multicultural Education. She has taught at the elementary, secondary and tertiary level in the United States and Greece. She has worked as the Director of the Refugee Research and Policy Unit in the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services of the Florida State Government. She is a tenured Assistant Professor in the Department of Elementary Education of the University of Patras in Greece. She is also coordinator of the post graduate Masters Degree thematic module 'Course Design and Evaluation' at the Hellenic Open University. She is an elected Executive Committee Member of the EU funded Children's Identity and Citizenship in Europe Thematic Network (CiCe) and Secretary of CiCea (Children's Identity and Citizenship European Association). Her research interests and publications focus on teacher education, citizenship, multiculturalism and identity, language and cultural diversity and their role in education and integration.

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